Sikkim Floods : CM Announced ‘Punarwas Awas Yojana’ To Assist Affected Flood Victims

Punarwas Awas Yojana
Punarwas Awas Yojana
Punarwas Awas Yojana

Gangtok, October 16 (IPR): Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang today announced the ‘Punarwas Awas Yojana’ or Rehabilitation Housing Scheme to assist the victims affected by the recent flash floods. Under this scheme, 2100 houses will be constructed to provide much-needed relief to those who have experienced hardship due to the natural disaster.
The following key announcements were made by the Chief Minister during a press conference held here at Samman Bhawan today:
1. Individuals who are victims of the flash floods and meet specific criteria, such as holding a Sikkim Subject Certificate/Certificate of Identification, owning land in their name or their father/grandfather’s name, or possessing a Voter Card in Sikkim, and whose houses have been fully or partially damaged to the extent that they are no longer habitable due to the flash floods will be allotted a house/flat under the ‘Punarwas Awas Yojana’ or Rehabilitation Housing Scheme.

In cases where victims do not currently own any land for house construction, the State government will acquire suitable land in a secure area for the construction of houses/flats under the newly announced scheme.
2. Owners of the affected houses as mentioned-above and tenants residing in those properties will be eligible for temporary rent assistance. The State government will consider providing three months’ rent support at Rs. 5000 per month to help victims in relief camps to expedite their return to normalcy.
3. For flash-flood victims residing in rented accommodation and meeting the specified eligibility criteria, the State government will establish a ‘Janta Housing Colony’ similar to residential quarters/flats, where the victims will be allocated housing units without any initial cost for a period of three years. Subsequently after this period, they will be required to pay rent.
4. The State government would provide basic household items like kitchen utensils, gas stoves, gas cylinders, mattresses, blankets and other daily household essentials to help the victims settle down in the rented accommodation.
5. The State government will provide Rs. 10,000 each to students who have been affected by the flash flood for the expenses of their uniforms and notebooks. Likewise, the Education Department will supply the required textbooks.
6. The government is committed to assisting victims whose businesses suffered losses due to the flash floods. A loan of up to Rs 10 lakhs, covering the interest for 24 months will be provided as a support to facilitate the establishment of new businesses.
7. The State government will conduct assessments to determine the needs of vehicle owners affected by the disaster. Similarly, it will provide relief and extend the moratorium period to manage EMI payments for those impacted by the flash floods.
8. District Collectors will set up camps in the affected areas to facilitate the issuance of essential documents, including Voter Cards, Aadhar Cards, Land Parcha, Ration Cards, Birth Certificates, Certificates of Identification, Community Certificates, Trade License, etc., for victims who have lost these documents in the floods.
9. Once the debris and muck are cleared from the affected areas, the Buildings & Housing Department will carry out a stability assessment to determine whether the damaged houses are safe for habitation.
10. The Roads & Bridges Department in collaboration with Rural Development Department and Border Road Organisation (BRO) will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the stability of bridges affected by the flash floods. This evaluation will inform about the necessary repair and maintenance work.
Given the anticipated high demand for rental accomodation in the affected regions, the State government has earnestly appealed all homeowners in these areas to refrain from raising rental rates beyond the standard market rate. It is essential to maintain fairness during this challenging time. Cooperation in providing affordable accomodation is vital in this hour of crisis, the Chief Minister stated in his remarks.
Addressing the media, the Chief Minister gave a comprehensive briefing, covering several critical aspects of the ongoing flash flood crisis in the State, including the number of evacuees, extent of damages, relief efforts and rehabilitation works among others.
He informed that a State level Banker Committee meeting, chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government of Sikkim, is scheduled to take place tomorrow to deliberate on the provision of financial relief and relaxation measures for the victims of the flash floods. This may include providing relief in the form of loan moratoriums, loan restructuring, or special credit facilities to help victims recover and rebuild their lives and businesses.
While highlighting the critical role of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) as a primary resource for providing immediate financial assistance to the flood victims, the Chief Minister underscored the State government’s commitment to transparently allocate and utilise resources for flood relief efforts.
He informed that the CMRF has been receiving generous contributions from various sources that have been instrumental in supporting the relief efforts. He extended gratitude to the citizens of Sikkim, relief workers, and volunteers for their tireless efforts during this crisis. He stated that the State government stands united with the people of Sikkim, working diligently to facilitate a swift recovery from the devastating flash floods.
While providing an indepth background of the Teesta Stage 3 Project, the Chief Minister reiterated that a detailed probe would be carried out on the reasons for the complete washing away of the dam in the recent floods.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Press Advisor to HCM, Shri C.P. Sharma, Relief Commissioner cum Secretary, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Shri Anil Raj Rai, Secretary, Planning & Development and DoP cum spokesperson, Shri Rinzing Chewang Bhutia, Secretary, IPR Department, Ms. Karma D. Youtso, Principal Chief Engineer cum Secretary, Power Department, Shri T Tshering Lepcha, Secretary CMO, Shri S.D. Dhakal, Secretary CMO, Smt. Tenzing Kizom, and PCE Power Department Shri Bikash Deokota, and General Manager, Sikkim Power Development Corporation, Shri Nirmal Agarwal.